New DGCA guidelines ‘marking moment’, says transpilot Adam Harry
He had to endure endless “torture” at home and in society because of his gender, but he never let this sea of suffering and harassment kill his long-cherished dream – to fly airplanes. Adam Harry, the country’s first transpilot, welcomed the publication by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of new guidelines on assessing the suitability of transgender people who have applied for a commercial pilot license.
As aviation regulator DGCA now formulates its first-ever medical guidelines for transgender people, Harry, who almost fought a lonely battle to get there, believes that suffering and humiliation have always made him stronger and more determined. to pursue his dreams. Speaking to PTI, the 23-year-old transgender from Kerala said he was “so happy” with the DGCA’s decision and that it was a “marking moment” for the third sex community in India. “It’s not just my victory alone, but the victory of the entire trans community who are tortured and bullied because of their gender when they are just as capable as other genders,” Harry said.
Read | ‘Declared unfit for pilot’s license’ says trans person; The DGCA denies any accusation
He said the DGCA decision would surely pave the way for more transgender people to pursue their dream careers in the aviation sector. The aviation regulator released guidelines on Wednesday for medical examiners to assess the fitness of transgender people who have applied for commercial pilot licenses. The agency last month denied media reports that Harry had been denied permission by the regulator to obtain a commercial pilot’s licence. Stating these reports were not true, the DGCA then said a transgender person could be issued a medical certificate of fitness provided there were “no associated medical, psychiatric or psychological conditions”. According to Harry, the new guidelines refer to the fact that being transgender is not a disorder.
Restrictions also appeared to be relatively less for those who continued hormone therapy for more than five years, he said. The new guidelines also clarified that trans pilots can fly if they reach a stable hormonal dose, he said, adding that because he underwent gender reassignment surgery more than a year ago, the “medically unfit period” mentioned by the DGCA would not be. be applicable to it. Harry said that after news reports of his fight emerged, several transgender people interested in becoming a pilot and many foreign pilots from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community called him to offer their support.
“Many of these foreign pilots even sent me the documents relating to the rules and regulations in force in their respective countries concerning transgender pilots. They were very useful to me in my communications with the DGCA,” he said. . Despite all these positive developments, the young transman still has apprehensions about the medical examinations mandated by the DGCA to obtain the professional pilot’s license. “Despite a transgender policy in place in the country, our community still faces severe discrimination and society’s attitude has yet to change much. I am deeply concerned about the behavior of medical examiners,” he said. -he declares.
Harry said he had already asked the authorities concerned that he should not have a transphobic experience like the previous time during the time of the medical examinations. Harry, who recently got his flying license revalidated from South Africa where he studied, also got medical clearance there without any hurdles. He said he had a class 2 medical certificate [clearance] from the Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa and the authorities did not stop him from taking hormones or undergoing a physical transition. After studying abroad, he had taken ground school at the Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology here with the state government scholarship.
He said that the discriminatory attitude of part of society towards transgender people forced him to ask the leftist government, which had given him a scholarship, to withdraw the money given to the aviation academy. The process of transferring these fees to an institute in South Africa is underway, he said. “I have applied to the State Department of Social Justice to grant me the same amount of scholarship to study in South Africa. The proposal is currently under review by the Department of Finance here.
I hope the scholarship will be released soon,” he said. If the amount is released, he plans to join the Academy in South Africa and take a medical fitness test conducted in that country. would also like to take an aptitude test under the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration, the US aviation regulatory authority, before returning to India and undergoing the medical tests mandated by the DGCA here. “The medical tests are too expensive in india and i can’t afford it right now as i have no money.
I do several odd jobs to make ends meet. But in South Africa, these tests are included in the tuition fees for our studies. So I think if I come back after having done two medical tests there, it will be an added advantage,” said Harry.
On Wednesday, the DGCA said in its guidelines that a transgender applicant’s suitability will be assessed on a case-by-case basis under the principles of assessing their functional ability and risk of incapacity.
Transgender applicants, who have undergone hormone therapy or undergone sex reassignment surgery within the past five years, will be screened for their mental health status, he said.
“The candidate must submit a detailed report from the trained endocrinologist containing the details – duration, dosage, frequency of dosing, changes made, hormone analysis reports, side effects, etc. – of the hormone therapy that the candidate has undergone .” he noted.